AFTER surprising even himself with the success of his return to Glasgow Warriors, Ruaridh Jackson has signed a deal to stay at the club for another year, with an option to extend, and says he is desperate to use the time to win silverware.

It still rankles that the one time the club did go on to claim a title, the Guinness PRO12 in 2015, came the season after he had left.

"I was delighted that they won but it does hurt a little that I did not get to enjoy those moments with some of my best mates. I have huge motivation to come back and win something," said the 31 year old.

"Retirement is near – though hopefully not for a good couple of years yet – but it is something that will drive me on to hopefully get a league title and push on in Europe. The year I left, when we lost in the final, was one of the worst moments – getting so close but not across the finishing line."

Jackson came back to Glasgow, the club he joined as a teenager, at the start of last season without huge expectations – Finn Russell was then cemented in his favoured role at fly-half and there were international-class specialists in most of the other roles he might have hoped to fill.

It took a series of injuries to Stuart Hogg to provide him with an alternative role and, 18 months into his new position, he has made it work with plenty of action, while Hogg's bad luck with injuries continued, and even a recall to the Scotland tour squad last summer.


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Not that he expects national interest to continue. Jackson accepts there would have to be a lot of injuries for him to get a shot at the World Cup and his role is more as a mentor – "father figure," is how he puts it – while plotting his own route towards retirement.

It is a path that is already sketched out after Jackson and Ryan Grant, the former Glasgow prop, set up a gin company, Garden Shed Gin, so that his spare time is mainly devoted to that.

"I can’t commit fully to it, Ryan and his wife are taking the majority of the load at the moment," he admitted.

"On days off and afternoons off, that allows me to pick up some of the slack. I try to use my network because there’s a lot of contacts there in the rugby world. It’s about trying to grow the business."

When that happens, Jackson is going to become a member of one prime demographic for the latest initiative to come out of Murrayfield, who have unveiled a root-and-branch restructure of how they look after local clubs to help counter the drop in playing numbers in the game's grassroots.


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According to Sheila Begbie, the director of rugby development, one of the main goals will be to keep more ex-players involved, whether that is by extending their playing days as coaches or just as club volunteers.

"Of course it [losing players] is happening with other unions as well but what will be really interesting for us this year is that we will have had our new database in for a season and that will allow us to look at the numbers who are really playing the game," she said.

"We will know what competitions they are in and what games they have played. It will hopefully help us identify dropout areas within the game and we can act on that."

To achieve that, she has divided her department into five regional units, subdivided into 12 districts, where the administrators can work alongside the clubs to increase player numbers and the health of the grassroots.